Surrey Board of Trade Calls for an Enhanced Focus to Arts & Culture in Surrey

The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased with the recent Surrey Council Report indicating funding growth for Surrey’s cultural grant program. The budget allocation for 2016 increased from $200,000 to $300,000.

2016 saw a 76% increase in Expression of Interest (EOI) letters from cultural groups. In 2015 only 57 EOI’s were received in 2015, with 81 being received for 2016.

Since the inception of the Surrey Cultural Grants in 2013, the City of Surrey has increased the amounts available each year. While that is a positive trend, research into Arts and Culture Grants in the region indicate that Surrey’s Grant structure should be measured on a per capita basis for clarity in comparison with neighbouring jurisdictions.

Surrey Council faces great challenges in ensuring competing priorities are met, however, the Cultural Grant programs is one of the few initiatives that will return dividends to the City with increased economic activity created by the arts and cultural community. The standard ratio estimated for economic impact is a 3-1 return on investment as per the Hills Strategies Report, “Artists and Cultural Workers in Canadian Municipalities.”

“The City of Surrey has indicated their commitment with ongoing development of a Cultural Corridor and investments in vibrant arts and culture events throughout Surrey,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. “It is in this light that the Surrey Board of Trade offers these recommendations to enhance this cultural initiative.”

Surrey Board of Trade Recommendations:

1. The City of Surrey continue to re-evaluate the current level of cultural grants in the context of per capita amounts across the Metro Vancouver region. Bringing cultural grant contributions in line with per capita needs will further invigorate Surrey’s cultural industry. The City of Surrey continues to evaluate this based upon our recommendation.
2. The City of Surrey expand financial disclosures in the Parks, Recreation & Culture department where investments are being made in arts and culture to begin a dialogue on future arts and culture investments in collaboration with local art organizations, the City of Surrey and other stakeholders.